Listening to Mapuzugun in Writing and Recordings

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentationResearch


In recent decades, a key part of the (re)emergence of Indigenous identities in Argentina has been the revitalisation of languages such as Mapuzugun, the Mapuche language. Since the conquest of Mapuche territories by the Argentine nation at the end of the nineteenth century, Mapuzugun has faced such discrimination and suppression so as to threaten its everyday usage, while nevertheless simultaneously being a focus of interest and documentation by science and folklore alike. As a result, contemporary efforts to revitalise the language have involved engaging with a varied archive of recorded Mapuche voices, both in written documents and in sound recordings, in order to reclaim and resignify the language in new contexts. Here I present some findings from my ongoing fieldwork in Argentina, drawing from historical sources and my interactions with Mapuche scholars and activists, to explore the ways in which these recordings of Mapuzugun have shaped notions of Mapuche identity at the level of sound and audibility. In particular, I highlight ways in which the production and contemporary engagement with these records involve dealing with notions of Indigenous orality, aural knowledge transmission and ways of listening.
Period25 Apr 2023
Event titleCLACS PG Symposium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Event typeConference